Tight supply situation in Lebanon after explosion

• The port silos in Beirut had a capacity of 120,000 tons
• At the time of the explosion, there were around 15,000 tons in silos
• Ministry of Economy says no flour or bread crisis
• Other ports ready to receive goods, but much smaller

In Lebanon, the huge explosion also destroyed the main grain silos in the port of Beirut. The country currently only has grain reserves with a reach of less than a month. However, the economy minister said there was enough flour available to avoid a crisis.
Raoul Nehme told Reuters a day after the devastating explosion on Tuesday that Lebanon would need grain reserves for at least three months to ensure food security.
The explosion was the strongest that has ever happened in Beirut. It covers a city torn apart by three decades of civil war. The economy was already in collapse before the explosion, and grain imports slowed as Lebanon struggles to raise hard currency for purchases.
"There is no bread or flour crisis," said the minister. "We have enough stocks and ships on the way to meet Lebanon's long-term needs."
He said the grain stores in the remaining Lebanese silos had a range of "a little less than a month," the destroyed silos only held 15,000 tons of grain at the time, much less than the capacity an official put at 120,000 tons.
Beirut's waterfront, the main entry point for imports for a nation of more than 6 million people, has been badly damaged.
Ahmed Tamer, director of the port of Tripoli, Lebanon's second largest facility, said his port does not have a grain store, but cargoes can be moved to warehouses 2 km away.
In addition to Tripoli, the ports of Saida, Selaata and Jiyeh are also equipped to handle grain, said the economy minister.
"We fear that there will be a major problem with the supply chain unless there is an international consensus to save us," said Hani Bohsali, head of the importers syndicate.
UN agencies meet on Wednesday to coordinate relief efforts for Beirut, Tamara al-Rifai, a spokeswoman for the Palestinian refugee agency UNRWA, told Reuters from Amman.
"The people are extremely poor, it is becoming increasingly difficult for anyone to buy food and the fact that Beirut is the largest port in Lebanon makes it a very bad situation," she said. "We're going to see Tripoli, but it's a much smaller port."
Flour reserves were sufficient to meet market needs for a month and a half and there are four ships carrying 28,000 tons of wheat to Lebanon, Ahmed Hattit, head of the wheat import company, told Al-Akhbar newspaper.
Lebanon is trying to get four ships carrying 25,000 tons of flour into the port of Tripoli immediately, an official told LBCI news channel.
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